Pick up the Ukulele at Stillwater Public Library

Yixin Kimbrough, age 8, shows off one the Stillwater Public Library’s new lending ukuleles donated by the Stillwater Ukulele Association.

The Stillwater Public, through a donation from the Stillwater Ukulele Association (SUA), will begin lending two ukulele kits to area community members. Anyone with a Stillwater Public Library card may borrow the kits, which will check out for 15 days at a time.

Kami Koontz (right, Stillwater Ukulele Association founder, presents Cathy Albright (left), Library Board Vice-Chair, and Lynda Reynolds (center), library director, with ukuleles for the library’s new lending program.

SUA has donated 210 ukuleles to 18 area elementary schools and reached over 1,000 kids so far, and decided to donate the instruments to Payne County libraries to reach a broader audience.

“I had read about other Public Ukulele movements around the world,” said Kami Koontz, SUA founder. “Many libraries were having great success in lending ukulele kits and in having workshops to help people learn to play. In my opinion, the more people playing ukulele, the better!  I wanted our Stillwater residents to have easy access to this fun and easy-to-learn instrument.”

The library will be holding a ukulele workshop in conjunction with SUA later in May.

“We were delighted to receive this donation,” said Lynda Reynolds, library director. “More and more, libraries across the country are lending out objects that the entire community can share. The ukuleles fit in very well with the other electronic and science kits we now lend.”

According to Koontz, music fans of all ages can easily learn to play.

“We have kids as young as seven coming to the SUA meetings. In my experience working with elementary schools in after-school programs, and doing in-class workshops at elementary schools, fourth and fifth graders are at a great age for learning to play, though it also depends on the child, their attention span and motivation.”

Each lending kit contains a ukulele, an instructional book and DVD, plus a song book. Koontz believes borrowers will be able to quickly pick up the ukulele using these materials.

“The book in the kit is the same book I purchased at Daddy O’s Music Co. three years ago when I first purchased my ukulele. I had never played a stringed instrument before and I went through the book page by page, watching the DVD and practicing and taught myself how to play. The DVD contains a very easy to follow-along lesson series.

“I have also developed some custom instructional materials that will come with the kit that will help borrowers learn the basics. After I learned the basics, I learned that much more by playing with other people, so I encourage people who check out the kits to come to the SUA meetings, as well.”

SUA meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 6-7:30 p.m. at Daddy O’s located at 115 N. Main St.

For more information on checking out the ukulele kits, contact the Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106 or visit the library’s “Take It, Make It” page at http://library.stillwater.org/take_it_make_it_kits.php. The library has an array of kits, like Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey and Little Bits, to help children and adults learn more about STEAM oriented subjects.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Library hours are MondayThursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Library cards are free for every person who lives, works or goes to school in Payne County.